You can now run Windows 10 on Apple's M1 MacBooks

Parallels Apple Macbook M
Parallels Apple Macbook M (Image credit: Paralells)

What you need to know

  • Parallels Desktop 16.5 for Mac natively supports Mac computers with either Apple M1 chips or Intel processors.
  • Parallels Desktop 16.5 uses 2.5 times less energy on an M1 MacBook than a 2020 Intel-based MacBook Air.
  • The new version of Parallels Desktop delivers up to 60% better performance than when run on select Intel-based Macbook Pros.

Parallels released a new version of its flagship software today that allows you to run Windows 10 on Apple's M1 MacBooks. Parallels Desktop 16.5 is more energy efficient and delivers better performance than Parallels Desktop on Intel-based MacBooks. The new version also delivers better virtual machine performance than running a Windows 10 VM on an Intel-based MacBook Pro.

With native support for Apple's M1 chips, you can bring Windows 10 to Apple's popular MacBook hardware.

Here are some highlights from Parallels on the new version:

  • Up to 250 percent less energy used: On a Mac with an Apple M1 chip, Parallels Desktop 16.5 uses 2.5 times less energy than on a 2020 Intel-based MacBook Air computer.
  • Up to 60 percent better DirectX 11 performance: Parallels Desktop 16.5 running on an M1 Mac delivers up to 60 percent better DirectX 11 performance than on an Intel-based MacBook Pro with Radeon Pro 555X GPU.
  • Up to 30 percent better virtual machine performance (Windows): Running a virtual machine (VM) of Windows 10 on ARM Insider Preview on Parallels Desktop 16.5 on an M1 Mac performs up to 30 percent better than a Windows 10 VM running on Intel-based MacBook Pro with Intel Core i9 processor.

Parallels made sure that the best features of Parallels Desktop work with Apple's M1 chips, including coherence mode, shared profiles, Touch Bar controls, and the ability to customize your keyboard menu and shortcuts.

If you already have a license for Parallels Desktop 16 for Mac, you can upgrade to Parallels Desktop 16.5 at no additional cost. A new subscription costs $80 per year and a new perpetual license costs $100. There are also discounts for people upgrading from Parallels Desktop 14 or 15.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at